Baker, Burton & Lundy stands firmly with all victims of sexual harassment who have had the courage to come forward and identify their accusers. Sexual harassment is extremely common – 95% of victims do not come forward. We do all we can to support sexual harassment victims through the deeply emotional process of breaking their silence and pursuing justice.
What Qualifies as Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of employment discrimination can take several different forms in the workplace. It can include unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors from a co-worker or supervisor. It could also be any verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. It may not always be a specific sexual behavior, or even directed at a specific person. An example of this would be negative or degrading comments of a sexual nature about women as a group.
Workplace sexual harassment can occur outside of the physical workspace through texts, phone calls or emails. Dynamics to consider when asking if something qualifies as sexual harassment includes the nature of the acts, the context in which they occurred, frequency (how often) and total number of days (how long).
Sexual harassment can include non-consent, unwanted physical touching, personal invitations, comments about one’s body or body fixation, being forced to spend time alone with a supervisor, romantic gifts, revealing outfit requirements, a co-worker taking unwanted photos, or any other offensive conduct of a sexual nature.
Common Questions about Sexual Harassment
What does Quid Pro Quo mean?
An employee is experiencing quid pro quo sexual harassment if a job benefit or opportunity is directly tied to that employee’s reaction to a supervisor or co-worker’s acts of sexual harassment. The employee is led to understand that he or she must tolerate these acts in exchange for employment, a raise, or any other job benefit.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
Sexual harassment can result in an offensive work environment where the victim’s work performance and feeling of safety in the workplace is negatively impacted. In general, a hostile work environment is defined as intimidating, hostile, or offensive to a reasonable person. These conditions can be created by supervisors, managers, co-workers, or customers/clients. An employer can be liable for failing to prevent these conditions. In a court case, the court will look for a pattern rather than an isolated incident, and will determine if this pattern qualifies as “serious” and “frequent”.
It is important to note that these two forms of harassment can occur together, and acts of sexual harassment may not clearly fit into only one category.
What do I do if I believe I’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace?
If your company has a human resource department, the first step is to report this to the HR department. Situations can vary greatly with the size and nature of the organization and in some organizations, the person you would report to, could be the person harassing you. Because of the difficulty of those situations, it is a good idea to seek legal advice. If you have an employee manual, read it and understand its requirements and procedures. It is a fundamental rule to protect yourself and important to set your personal boundaries in a firm manner.
What is the difference between sex discrimination and sexual harassment?
According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. If someone is doing something to you because of your gender or sexual orientation, it is against the law.
What is the difference between sexual harassment and sexual abuse/sexual assault?
Sexual harassment can include sexual abuse or sexual assault. Sexual abuse or sexual assault features sexual violence, generally understood to be unwanted sexual contact or touching of any kind. Sexual abuse and assault are always crimes. Sexual harassment can a crime in certain situations.
How is consent defined in California?
California Penal Code 261.6: Consent is defined to mean positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to the exercise of free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved.
If you believe you have been a victim of inappropriate behavior in the workplace, or just want to ask if what you are experiencing is legal, call our office today and talk to our lawyers who have helped many people, male and female, confront illegal behavior in their workplaces.
Why Choose a Personal Injury Attorney at Baker, Burton & Lundy
Partner Albro Lundy III has over 35 years of trial experience and particular experience in personal injury litigation, including multiple multi-million dollar victories. Along with his associates Evan Koch and Stephen Semos, our litigation team works closely with your family to develop a specific understanding of the full impact of your loss. Then, we present your unique, compelling loss to the negotiators or jurors who have the power to resolve your legal claims.
At Baker, Burton & Lundy, our attorneys have successfully resolved many challenging personal injury claims. You can expect our attorneys to be both caring and tenacious in our efforts to recover maximum compensation for your family.
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